By CCW Staff  /  
2016 November 2 - 10:08 am

Faculty Lounge

A Summary Listing of Faculty Activities at Colleges Around the Nation

Rio Hondo College (Calif) and automotive technology professor John Frala have received the 2016 Award for Clean Air Education and Outreach in recognition of the college’s groundbreaking associate of science degree in hybrid/electric vehicle/fuel-cell technology. The degree is California’s first to serve the growing market in advanced alternative-fuel technology, part of a suite of complementary majors in the college’s innovative automotive technology program. Frala, who is a leader in a statewide effort to create a “Hydrogen Highway” to support expanded use of alternative-fuel vehicles, designed the degree. The award was presented earlier this month by the South Coast Air Quality Management District, which honored a handful of businesses, individuals and public agencies for contributing to cleaner air in the region. “We are extraordinarily proud of John and his team in the Automotive Technology Department,” Superintendent/President Teresa Dreyfuss said. “Their impressive work on the cutting edge of this technology creates opportunities for our students to explore an exciting and lucrative new career field.” Rio Hondo College’s associate of science degree in hybrid/electric vehicle/fuel-cell technology, approved in April, teaches students about electrical systems, chemistry, physics and applied mathematics, demonstrating the growing slate of academic skills required by today’s automotive repair industry. Students who receive degrees are trained to safely handle high-voltage vehicles. “I’m excited to be a part of such a dynamic faculty at Rio Hondo College and pleased to share this award with my colleagues who are dedicated to opening new career vistas for our students as a result of our creative curriculum,” Frala said. Frala sits on the Green Team, a state advisory group dedicated to creating a series of hydrogen refueling stations known as the California Hydrogen Highway. He began developing the concept for the new AS degree four years ago. Progress on the AS degree received a boost when Frala’s team led Rio Hondo College in securing a $200,000 National Science Foundation grant in May 2015 to develop alternative-fuels training. Frala said Rio Hondo College’s automotive programs are quickly gaining recognition across the state and nation for their innovative and forwardlooking approaches. He said companies began inquiring about graduates from the AS program almost as soon as it was approved.

Christopher Scott Murillo, an adjunct faculty member in theater at Riverside City College (Calif.), will receive the Princess Grace Theater Fellowship, Pierre Cardin Award in New York. Murillo, 31, is being honored for his scenic design work with the Playwrights’ Arena, which is based in Los Angeles and was founded by Jon Lawrence Rivera in order to produce and direct original works by Los Angeles playwrights. Murillo’s work has also been featured at International City Theatre, New Village Arts Theatre, The Chance Theater, Deaf West Theatre, Wallis Anneberg Center for the Performing Arts, the Hollywood Bowl, and Performance Riverside. The Princess Grace Foundation Foundation continues the legacy of Princess Grace (Kelly) of Monaco who helped emerging artists pursue their artistic goals during her lifetime. In total, the Foundation is awarding over $1 million to artists in theater, dance, and film. Murillo, who began teaching classes at the college in 2014, grew up in Santa Ana and began working in and studying theater as an undergrad at UCLA. Originally, he set his sights on becoming an imaginer for Walt Disney Studios. However, as he progressed in his studies at UCLA he soon fell in love with the “perspective of design and its storytelling capabilities.” Murillo recently worked on Mary Poppins for Performance Riverside. “As far as teaching, I hope that I pass on to my students an exposure and appreciation to design and theater as art forms. I also hope that they become more aware of the visual world in which they live in and realize that storytelling is an integral part of their everyday lives.”

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